I made a couple of graphics for Equal Pay Day (April 4th), which is the day marking how far into the year women need to work in order to make the same amount as men did the previous year. On this day we draw attention to the pay gap that women face, which is even larger for women of color. It is important that on Equal Pay Day, when we talk about income equality for all, that we remember to include women with disabilities in this discussion. Additionally, we need more and better data on women of color with disabilities. You can find these images on my twitter feed @cycleberry.
I put the following list of links together for a class I am teaching to help inform my students, and wanted to share it here while advocates around the country (indeed around the world) are preparing for the Inauguration. This is also a great opportunity to think about disability, as this historic moment brings us to a precipice as a nation. What will the new administration mean for the disability community, and how will we all be affected by their policies?
Would You Like to Know More? *
I was fortunate enough to be in New York City at the Javits Center, looking forward to celebrating our first woman president as she shattered that glass ceiling. Unfortunately, as you all know, that did not happen. While Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by over a million and counting, she lost the electoral college. My friends, colleagues, and loved ones are now wondering what happens next. I posted the following on my facebook page and would like to share it here as well:
Dear friends, please take care of yourselves. Take the time you need to process what has happened and grieve. Last night hurt deeply, and today has been painful. Many have called this election divisive, and it has been, but it has also uprooted deep-seated racial, sexist, xenophobic, ableist, and anti-LGBT tensions in our country. These did not show up overnight. Last night was devastating because we risk losing the progress we have made and fought for. So I ask you to take care of yourself. To allow yourself the time to grieve now, because we all have work to do.
We have a fight ahead of us to ensure the rights and civil liberties of every human being living in our country are protected and upheld under the new administration. The past several days my social media has been filled with stories of people of color and immigrants receiving threats and violence for simply existing, and we have seen a disturbing bolstering of the alt-right movement. We have also seen news agencies taken to task for their conduct during the election, and social networking organizations chided for not moderating the flow of fake news that has been (and continues to be) misinforming the American public. Currently, there are many theories being proposed about how the election was decided, who voted which way and who did not. Yes, white people overwhelmingly voted for Trump. However, it is important to note that over half of our citizens did not vote, and we have to consider the role that voter suppression and intimidation may have played in those statistics. Regardless, we now find ourselves at this impasse as we wait to see if the electoral college exercises their power on November 19th. Until then, my friends have shared some resources that may prove necessary moving forward:
UPDATE: I just read that Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have been appointed to Senate Democratic leadership positions, and Chuck Schumer will be the new Senate minority leader. This gives me hope. I wish, however, that Warren and Sanders had stronger positions on disability issues. This looks like a great opportunity to inform and advocate!
As a bisexual advocate, I have been arguing for the need for more resources and tools specifically for the bisexual community. This year, I have seen a couple of new tools come out (during National Coming out Day no less) that I wanted to share with folks and thought it was a great opportunity to create this post highlighting the bisexual resources that are out there. If you know of any that you think should be included, please drop me a line so I can include them! I am also adding here some of the key reports about the bisexual community as well as some fantastic organizations doing work in this area.
Tools & More:
If you have not yet heard of the Disability Visibility Project, then get ready! Alice Wong (@DisVisibility on Twitter) has been doing some incredible things, including partnering with Andrew Pulrang (@AndrewPulrang) of the Disability Thinking blog, and Gregg Bertran (@GreggBeratan) for their newest #CripTheVote initiative.
At it's core, the Disability Visibility Project (DVP) is an "online community dedicated to recording, amplifying, and sharing disability stories and culture." It has a community partnership with StoryCorps to contribute to preserving an oral history of voices in disability community. Back in 2014 I did an interview with my friend Ryan Parrey and this was my response:
Earlier this week I did a Storycorps interview for the Disability Visibility Project. I'm not sure how good a job I did, but it was a good experience and I learned something about myself. That is, I'm not comfortable talking about myself. I've spent so much of my life being pressured to hide things for various reasons that once I did actually have a chance to talk about it all, I didn't even know where to start. Perhaps that's at the heart of the Disability Visibility Project? Giving people an opportunity to voice their experiences, which held particular importance for me as someone with multiple invisible disabilities. I still struggled with feeling as though my story wasn't worthy of hearing, however, and held back a lot. I was surprised when the interview ended and the person facilitating it said that it resonated with her and we had a great conversation about navigating grad school with learning disabilities. I'm also grateful that Ryan could come with me and be such a good support. Even if no one ever hears it, I'm glad that I got the chance to have this experience. Thank you Alice Wong for starting this project and making all of this possible. I'm really looking forward to hearing other people's stories.
Alice recently won the 2016 Paul G. Hearne Leadership Award from the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), and it was definitely well deserved! Below is a montage that she presented when she accepted the award. I was surprised and thrilled to see a small excerpt from Ryan's and my interview a minute marker 1:47.
If you want to participate in the Disability Visibility Project, you can learn more by clicking the link below!
Today is the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act! This is a time to celebrate what it has accomplished so far, to recognize the contributions and sacrifices that led to its passing, and also to think critically about its limitations and where to go from here. Because that's the thing, it wasn't perfect. It wasn't meant to be exactly, and couldn't really have been and gotten passed successfully. It was, however, the first civil rights based anti-discrimination legislation that recognized disability as a minority that needed reasonable accommodation, equal access and equal opportunity. It was a first step, a work in progress, but also one that needs to work alongside other policies focused on ensuring social, political, and human rights. Further, and most importantly, the ADA needs to evolve over time somehow to reflect the changes in how people are living. Otherwise, it runs the risk of becoming antiquated. In all of the discussion about the UN CRPD people keep saying that America won't need to change anything because it already has the ADA. Actually, we will eventually regardless, and we should if we want to remain relevant and current.
All over the country, people have been celebrating ADA 25 Week. One of the most amazing things has been the ADA Legacy Bus Tour, which has been traveling all over the United States with its mobile disability history museum that features the photographs of social documentarian Tom Olin. A list of some of the ADA events can be found at the ADA Legacy Project's website and began with a reception at the White House, organized by Disability Community Liaison and Associate Director to the Office of Public Engagement, Maria Town. You can watch President Obama's speech below (the video should be captioned). However, it unfortunately does not have Haben Girma's wonderful introduction. Also Alice Wong, founder of the Disability Visibility Project, joined the reception via a telepresence robot! This resulted in several fun articles, including one on Wired called, "The President is Now Taking Robot Visitors" and made Gizmodo's list of "The 5 Best Times Obama Met with Robots." Photos of Haben and Alice at the reception can be found below the video.
In his speech the President acknowledged the work and contributions of several disability rights leaders, including Tia Nelis who has been involved in the People First movement ever since the beginning. She is also the self-advocacy specialist at the Institute on Disability & Human Development at UIC, the current president of Self Advocates Becoming Empowered (SABE), and a good friend. To celebrate ADA 25, the Google Impact Challenge painted portraits of disability leaders on steps all over Washington, DC, including Ed Roberts, Judy Heumann, Justin Dart Jr., Tom Harkin, Kathy Martinez, Patrick Kennedy, Tia Nelis, Claudia Gordon, and Tatyana McFadden. The steps were an interesting choice on Google's part. I believe they had intended it as an homage to the "capitol crawl"; however, I think it would have made more of an "impact" if Google had installed ramps or lifts next to inaccessible stairways and then painted those! Still, its really cool to see and I love that Claudia Gordon's portrait was painted on steps at Gallaudet University.
You can see Tia's portrait below. It says, "We want the community to see us as friends, co-workers and neighbors instead of clients and patients. And to get rid of all those labels that hurt people." Also, the image below links to the main website where you can watch videos and view the rest of the portraits.
There was also a lot of fantastic discussion about the importance of supporting entrepreneurs with disabilities at the ADA 25 Week events! The topic of not only employment, but specifically entrepreneurship, came up during the panel at the Department of Labor, by Senator Harkin at the Department of Justice panel, and by blogger and entrepreneuse Emily Ladau at the Department of Education panel -- showing just how cross-cutting this issue is! I think its very fitting that at the culmination of ADA 25 Week, the Special Olympics World Games began in Los Angeles with entrepreneur and restaurateur Tim Harris introducing the First Lady, Michelle Obama.
We marched as part of the UIC contingent, which includes the Institute on Disability & Human Development, the Great Lakes ADA Center, the Disability Studies Student Council, and the Chancellor's Committee on the Status of Persons with Disabilities. We also had several students joining us from other organizations and programs at UIC such as Invincible to Invisible: API Pride and folks promoting doctoral student, Kat Perez's, new Disability Rights Blog.
I definitely want to echo what so many have been saying on social media about three crucial issues moving forward after the SCOTUS decision on same-sex marriage yesterday:
1) We need to work for marriage equality for people with disabilities, and address the marriage limitations, restrictions, and disincentives that exist so that people with disabilities have the same right to choose whether to get married or not without fear of how it will affect their benefits, employment, or housing.
Click here for a great blog about this issue by Dominick Evans.
2) We need to acknowledge and rectify the deep history of appropriation and suppression of people of color and trans voices within LGBTQ spaces and communities.
Click here for an interesting article that counter-positions the reaction of many in the LGBTQ community to the SCOTUS decision to the reaction towards the trans advocate, Jennicet Gutierrez, who has since become known as the "White House Heckler." By Bea Esperanza Fonseca at Black Girl Dangerous.
Click here for an interesting article on the "bleaching" of the history of the Stonewall riots by Irene Monroe.
3) We need to ensure employment non-discrimination protections for both sexual orientation and gender identity. Many assume that such legislation is already in place, but according to the National LGBTQ Task Force it only exists in 19 states and Washington, DC (an additional 3 states having protections only on the basis of sexual orientation). Somewhere along the line ENDA (the Employment Non-discrimination Act) that would have addressed this lost momentum. It could have been last year when, in response to the Hobby Lobby decision, many LGBTQ organizations pulled their support. Click here to read more.
Click here for an interesting article on how people who are LGBTQ that are caught celebrating the SCOTUS decision can still legally be fired in most states. By Naomi Shavin at The New Republic.
Regardless of whether you believe in marriage, people should have the right to choose. LGBTQ people now have the same right to choose to get married and the right to choose not to get married as they so desire. Yes, this decision has many legal ramifications and we can and should continue to critique the institution of marriage... but today the work of so many people has led to a landmark decision that is going to change the lives of many others. This is something to celebrate!
June 26th, 2003: Lawrence v. Texas
The U.S. Supreme Court struck down the sodomy law in Texas, making same-sex sexual activity legal in every U.S. state and territory.
June 26th, 2013: Winsor v. United States
The U.S. Supreme Court declared the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional.
Junes 26th, 2015: Obergefell v. Hogdes
The U.S. Supreme Court held that a state cannot prohibit same-sex marriage.
READ THE DECISION HERE
So excited for our panel this June at the Society for Disability Studies (SDS) annual conference in Atlanta! Below is the overall abstract as well as the individual abstracts for each presenter after the break:
Friday, June 12th from 10:30am to 12:00pm
This panel, organized by the special interest group on Work, Employment & Society, will address the impact of anti-discrimination legislation and contemporary advancements in employment policy on disability rights. A disability studies lens permits this dialogue to interrogate the boundaries of disability employment. The collection of papers presented here will: add to the body of knowledge on characteristics of a process to change the status quo in employment policy for people with disability; build on prior work analyzing the conceptual relationship between the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Civil Rights Act of 1964; explore the impact of Employment First policy on the rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, particularly with regards to entrepreneurship; and use disability theories to explore what workplace analytics means for anti-discrimination laws and for how we understand ability and disability
Moderator & Discussant: Sarah Parker Harris, Ph.D.
A Philadelphian living in Chicago and doing the Disability Studies thing. I'm still figuring out what to do with this space.